Home > Articles > Security > Network Security

This chapter is from the book

This chapter is from the book

Why Is the Internet Attractive to Businesses?

Given what we have just said about the lack of inherent security of the Internet, some people might ask why they should expose any of their really important information to these threats by connecting their systems to "the Net." For home users, the answer may be as simple as: "It is cool, and I can do really fun things," or, "It is the only way I can get my college kids to communicate with me." More commonly, home users have come to depend on the Internet for shopping (especially for hard-to-find and specialty items), staying in touch with loved ones, meeting new people, and conducting day-to-day activities such as paying bills, balancing the checkbook, buying movie tickets, and researching school papers. Many self-employed people and small businesses rely on the Internet to communicate with suppliers and customers.

Of course, the reason that they can do all of these things is that businesses also have chosen to join the Internet. Like all business decisions, this one is based on one of two possible outcomes:

  • Saving money

  • Making money

In the "saving money" department, the Internet can provide a significant reduction in communications costs. A connection to the Internet can be much cheaper than leasing a dedicated line between two campuses or branch offices, and it can even be made fairly secure from eavesdropping through the application of virtual private networking (VPN) technology. Similarly, the same technology can allow remote users, such as telecommuters and the sales force, to connect to the corporate computers without accumulating large long-distance bills every month.

It is the possibility of making lots of money that has really driven many enterprises to the Internet. Although many of the "dot coms" have closed shop, many of the traditional "brick-and-mortar" industries are finding that they can reach new customers and offer new services and products through the Internet. Alternatively, they might be capable of using data that they acquire through the Internet in a new product or service offering.

One other advantage of having a presence on the Internet is that it sometimes can level the playing field for small companies. It is not always easy to tell the difference between a company with 100 employees and a company with 10,000 employees by looking at a Web site. It might be possible for a small company that offers a product or service to a niche market to compete quite effectively, given the fact that, with a little bit of word of mouth and innovative marketing within the target market, the company can have global access to potential customers.

Although the types of services and products available on the Internet are fairly well known, it is worth our time to review the major categories with an eye on some of the security concerns that come into play with them.

Application Services

Application service providers (ASPs) offer enterprise customers an alternative to implementing and maintaining large applications and databases. By spreading out the day-to-day costs of maintaining these systems among many clients, the ASPs hope to achieve an economy of scale and realize a significant profit while allowing their clients to reduce operating costs.

Of course, the obvious issue here is that it is highly likely that these off-site application servers will contain private information. To make its product attractive, an ASP must be capable of guaranteeing that unauthorized users will not be able to gain access to the data that is contained in these systems. Furthermore, the ASP might have to ensure that the data is protected from eavesdropping as it moves between the ASP and the client's facility.

Media and Data Delivery

The tremendous popularity of file-sharing applications and protocols such as Napster and Gnutella "servants" has caused quite a bit of angst in the headquarters of the motion picture and music publishing industries; however, it is likely to lead the way to a new method of media product delivery. Although broadband access to the home is still in its infancy—cable modems and DSL do not fulfill the visions of the "fiber to the curb" crowd—it has enabled many people to download large volumes of music, television shows, and movies without paying any kind of fee beyond their monthly ISP bills. While most of the remedies to the industries' concerns have been on the legal front (for example, shutting down the directory servers of certain file-sharing systems), all of the major media companies are exploring similar methods of "safely" delivering their products to the consumer.

The security issues for this industry will involve antipiracy techniques. When the media is in the hands of the end user, it is simply a collection of bits. The publishing industry will never be happy as long as it is possible to simply transfer the data to a friend or, even worse, post it on a server that anyone in the world can get to.

Information Services

Many companies simply use their Internet presence as a means of publishing marketing information, either about a product or about a company itself. For example, just about every summer action movie has a Web site that comes up months before the movie is released, simply to generate "buzz" in the hopes of increasing those critical first-weekend box-office receipts.

The Internet provides not only an immense collection of raw information, but also an incredible array of customized information services. Today there are sites that will tell you the best (or, at least, a decent approximation of the best) way to drive from one building to another, across town, or across the country. Similarly, newspapers now produce customized news summaries, with the hopes of either collecting monthly subscription fees or advertising revenue.

Information sites have an obvious concern about ensuring that their information is presented accurately. An attacker who is able to change the content of these sites might be able to do anything from affect stock prices or "break" news before it should be released. One example of the latter involves the entertainment industry. For example, the developers of one high-profile "reality" TV show made the mistake of staging summaries about future episodes on their production Web server. The idea of hackers getting access to the "secrets" of next week's show might seem humorous to many people; however, the television networks' advertising revenue stream is directly tied to the number of people who tune in every week. Having the results of the series finale revealed halfway through the season could have cost the network millions of dollars. Once again, we see the value of knowing what your critical information assets really are.

Financial Services

Online banking and stock-trading Web sites have become very popular. These sites offer tremendous convenience to customers and cost-cutting (that is, profit-raising) opportunities for the financial institutions. They are also among the most obvious targets for penetration attacks. Not only do they have to protect their clients' personal financial information, but they also must ensure that no unauthorized transactions are performed. These kinds of security breaches result in direct financial loss, and, if made public, a serious erosion in customer confidence, which is critical to these types of services.


Finally, both brick-and-mortar companies and new retail companies have adopted the Internet as the modern catalog. Although initial investments have been high and profit margins have been thin, Internet-based retail shopping has allowed vendors to rapidly change their product offerings and to tailor the view of their inventory to each customer.

These companies are faced with two major security issues: maintaining the integrity of their data (for example, the prices in the catalog should not be modified by anyone on the Internet) and keeping their client information private. Many of the product companies (as well as information-for-fee companies) have had the unpleasant experience of having customer credit cards numbers and personal information stolen—and learning about it through a blackmail message or angry phone calls from customers.

InformIT Promotional Mailings & Special Offers

I would like to receive exclusive offers and hear about products from InformIT and its family of brands. I can unsubscribe at any time.


Pearson Education, Inc., 221 River Street, Hoboken, New Jersey 07030, (Pearson) presents this site to provide information about products and services that can be purchased through this site.

This privacy notice provides an overview of our commitment to privacy and describes how we collect, protect, use and share personal information collected through this site. Please note that other Pearson websites and online products and services have their own separate privacy policies.

Collection and Use of Information

To conduct business and deliver products and services, Pearson collects and uses personal information in several ways in connection with this site, including:

Questions and Inquiries

For inquiries and questions, we collect the inquiry or question, together with name, contact details (email address, phone number and mailing address) and any other additional information voluntarily submitted to us through a Contact Us form or an email. We use this information to address the inquiry and respond to the question.

Online Store

For orders and purchases placed through our online store on this site, we collect order details, name, institution name and address (if applicable), email address, phone number, shipping and billing addresses, credit/debit card information, shipping options and any instructions. We use this information to complete transactions, fulfill orders, communicate with individuals placing orders or visiting the online store, and for related purposes.


Pearson may offer opportunities to provide feedback or participate in surveys, including surveys evaluating Pearson products, services or sites. Participation is voluntary. Pearson collects information requested in the survey questions and uses the information to evaluate, support, maintain and improve products, services or sites, develop new products and services, conduct educational research and for other purposes specified in the survey.

Contests and Drawings

Occasionally, we may sponsor a contest or drawing. Participation is optional. Pearson collects name, contact information and other information specified on the entry form for the contest or drawing to conduct the contest or drawing. Pearson may collect additional personal information from the winners of a contest or drawing in order to award the prize and for tax reporting purposes, as required by law.


If you have elected to receive email newsletters or promotional mailings and special offers but want to unsubscribe, simply email information@informit.com.

Service Announcements

On rare occasions it is necessary to send out a strictly service related announcement. For instance, if our service is temporarily suspended for maintenance we might send users an email. Generally, users may not opt-out of these communications, though they can deactivate their account information. However, these communications are not promotional in nature.

Customer Service

We communicate with users on a regular basis to provide requested services and in regard to issues relating to their account we reply via email or phone in accordance with the users' wishes when a user submits their information through our Contact Us form.

Other Collection and Use of Information

Application and System Logs

Pearson automatically collects log data to help ensure the delivery, availability and security of this site. Log data may include technical information about how a user or visitor connected to this site, such as browser type, type of computer/device, operating system, internet service provider and IP address. We use this information for support purposes and to monitor the health of the site, identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents and appropriately scale computing resources.

Web Analytics

Pearson may use third party web trend analytical services, including Google Analytics, to collect visitor information, such as IP addresses, browser types, referring pages, pages visited and time spent on a particular site. While these analytical services collect and report information on an anonymous basis, they may use cookies to gather web trend information. The information gathered may enable Pearson (but not the third party web trend services) to link information with application and system log data. Pearson uses this information for system administration and to identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents, appropriately scale computing resources and otherwise support and deliver this site and its services.

Cookies and Related Technologies

This site uses cookies and similar technologies to personalize content, measure traffic patterns, control security, track use and access of information on this site, and provide interest-based messages and advertising. Users can manage and block the use of cookies through their browser. Disabling or blocking certain cookies may limit the functionality of this site.

Do Not Track

This site currently does not respond to Do Not Track signals.


Pearson uses appropriate physical, administrative and technical security measures to protect personal information from unauthorized access, use and disclosure.


This site is not directed to children under the age of 13.


Pearson may send or direct marketing communications to users, provided that

  • Pearson will not use personal information collected or processed as a K-12 school service provider for the purpose of directed or targeted advertising.
  • Such marketing is consistent with applicable law and Pearson's legal obligations.
  • Pearson will not knowingly direct or send marketing communications to an individual who has expressed a preference not to receive marketing.
  • Where required by applicable law, express or implied consent to marketing exists and has not been withdrawn.

Pearson may provide personal information to a third party service provider on a restricted basis to provide marketing solely on behalf of Pearson or an affiliate or customer for whom Pearson is a service provider. Marketing preferences may be changed at any time.

Correcting/Updating Personal Information

If a user's personally identifiable information changes (such as your postal address or email address), we provide a way to correct or update that user's personal data provided to us. This can be done on the Account page. If a user no longer desires our service and desires to delete his or her account, please contact us at customer-service@informit.com and we will process the deletion of a user's account.


Users can always make an informed choice as to whether they should proceed with certain services offered by InformIT. If you choose to remove yourself from our mailing list(s) simply visit the following page and uncheck any communication you no longer want to receive: www.informit.com/u.aspx.

Sale of Personal Information

Pearson does not rent or sell personal information in exchange for any payment of money.

While Pearson does not sell personal information, as defined in Nevada law, Nevada residents may email a request for no sale of their personal information to NevadaDesignatedRequest@pearson.com.

Supplemental Privacy Statement for California Residents

California residents should read our Supplemental privacy statement for California residents in conjunction with this Privacy Notice. The Supplemental privacy statement for California residents explains Pearson's commitment to comply with California law and applies to personal information of California residents collected in connection with this site and the Services.

Sharing and Disclosure

Pearson may disclose personal information, as follows:

  • As required by law.
  • With the consent of the individual (or their parent, if the individual is a minor)
  • In response to a subpoena, court order or legal process, to the extent permitted or required by law
  • To protect the security and safety of individuals, data, assets and systems, consistent with applicable law
  • In connection the sale, joint venture or other transfer of some or all of its company or assets, subject to the provisions of this Privacy Notice
  • To investigate or address actual or suspected fraud or other illegal activities
  • To exercise its legal rights, including enforcement of the Terms of Use for this site or another contract
  • To affiliated Pearson companies and other companies and organizations who perform work for Pearson and are obligated to protect the privacy of personal information consistent with this Privacy Notice
  • To a school, organization, company or government agency, where Pearson collects or processes the personal information in a school setting or on behalf of such organization, company or government agency.


This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that we are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of each and every web site that collects Personal Information. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this web site.

Requests and Contact

Please contact us about this Privacy Notice or if you have any requests or questions relating to the privacy of your personal information.

Changes to this Privacy Notice

We may revise this Privacy Notice through an updated posting. We will identify the effective date of the revision in the posting. Often, updates are made to provide greater clarity or to comply with changes in regulatory requirements. If the updates involve material changes to the collection, protection, use or disclosure of Personal Information, Pearson will provide notice of the change through a conspicuous notice on this site or other appropriate way. Continued use of the site after the effective date of a posted revision evidences acceptance. Please contact us if you have questions or concerns about the Privacy Notice or any objection to any revisions.

Last Update: November 17, 2020